• Le Infiorate di Spello

    For almost three years now (since we moved to Italy), I have had Le Infiorate di Spello on my “must-do” travel list and this year we finally made it!  Le Infiorate is a manifestation/festival that takes place every year on the ninth Sunday after Easter, celebrating the Corpus Domini feast.  Although there are similar demonstrations… [Continue Reading]

    Le Infiorate di Spello
  • Umbrian Race Weekend – Corsa delle Carrette

    Bobby and I planned a weekend trip in Umbria around the Infiorate Festival (stay tuned for the next post!), but we ended up stumbling into another great festival of sorts.  La Corsa delle Carrette, a type of soap-box race for grown-ups, took place in both Narni and Spoleto last weekend.  On Saturday, the qualifying races… [Continue Reading]

    Umbrian Race Weekend – Corsa delle Carrette
  • Southern Italy Road Trip

    Today marks our three month mark from leaving Italy.  I cannot believe it!  Last week, Bobby and I took our final road trip to southern Italy, where we visited Bobby’s sister Eva and caught some rays on the beach.  Okay, to be honest, it was several beaches.    Even though the southern regions of Puglia,… [Continue Reading]

    Southern Italy Road Trip
  • The Croatian Coast

    After Bobby took over duties for the last few blogs, I figured I should get back to my normal blogging routine (although he is a better writer than me)!  Last week, we took a ten day trip down the coast of Croatia, through Montenegro and Bosnia and Herzegovina, and then back to Italy.  It ended… [Continue Reading]

    The Croatian Coast
  • Sicily – Stepping Back in Time [Part 2]

    Carrie is currently working some other web tasks so I decided to pinch hit for her again.  Now that you’ve officially been warned, let’s talk about Sicily! Our western loop continued with a trip to the Scala dei Turchi (the Turk’s staircase), a stark white rock formation that juts into the Mediterranean.  On our last… [Continue Reading]

    Sicily – Stepping Back in Time [Part 2]
  • Sicily – Stepping Back in Time [Part 1]

    I’ve been a bit slow about blogging lately, so here’s to catching up!  In mid-April, Bobby and I took a nine-day trip to Sicily and it was our second time visiting the island.  On our first trip, we visited some pretty amazing places – Taormina, Siracusa, and Agrigento (to name a view), which are located… [Continue Reading]

    Sicily – Stepping Back in Time [Part 1]
  • Florentine Birthday

    Yesterday marked the beginning of my last year of my twenties.  Yikes!  Luckily, I had some pretty great people to celebrate with.  Our friend Eva, who happened to be in town from Belgium, and our Italian friends Tatiana and Francesco joined Bobby and me for dinner at Piazza del Vino here in Firenze.  It was… [Continue Reading]

    Florentine Birthday
  • Viareggio Carnevale 2014

    This is our third year heading to Viareggio’s Carnevale celebration and each time, the floats and costumes never cease to amaze us.  The parade of Carnevale 2014 presented 15 floats, with some reaching heights as tall as 20 meters (over 65 feet)!  Over 1,000 people in 25 different artisan firms worked an entire year to… [Continue Reading]

    Viareggio Carnevale 2014
  • Skiing the Dolomites

    For the past month or so, the weather in Florence has been very mild.  We’re talking temps in the mid-to-high fifties.  Conditioned by our surroundings, we were skeptical of the snow conditions for our upcoming trip to the Dolomites.  Thankfully, we hit the jackpot.  We had clear skies and near freezing temperatures (great skiing weather!)… [Continue Reading]

    Skiing the Dolomites
  • Cavalcata dei Magi – Epiphany in Florence

    The Feast of Epiphany is celebrated on January 6th.  Epiphany marks the 12th day of Christmas when the three wise men (or magi) arrived at the manger bearing gifts for Baby Jesus and it is traditionally one of the most important holidays in Italy.  In Florence, the day is celebrated with the “Cavalcata dei Magi,”… [Continue Reading]

    Cavalcata dei Magi – Epiphany in Florence

Perugia…the land of Chocolate and Deruta!

471 Shares 471 Shares ×

Perugia is a town in the Umbria region of Italy, about 150 km southeast of Florence.  A few weeks ago, we saw an advertisement online for Eurochocolate, an international chocolate festival.  Because I figure you have to be crazy not to like chocolate (sorry mom!), it was an easy decision to make the trek.  Also, Perugia has some personal history with Bobby’s family.  Bobby’s mom, Terri, lived in Perugia and Bobby’s brother, Jim, was born there.  Perugia ended up being a beautiful city and much bigger than we expected.  It is our favorite trip we’ve taken in Italy so far.  Here are some shots around town:

Beautiful landscape of Perugia

Perugian streets

It’s a vertical city with lots of stairs!

One of the city’s portals

Another portal into the city

Not sure what this is, but I like it

These next photos show interesting layers of medieval Perugia. The city has not just preserved this historic area but has turned it into a kind of working museum by running a system of escalators through the underground, linking old and new parts of the city. To use these escalators, visitors and residents must cut through the remains of a medieval neighborhood which was razed to construct the Rocca Paolina, once a fortress in Perugia more than 500 years ago.  The underground city is an extraordinary sight, with vaulted brick ceilings that have been constructed over medieval streets, houses, and churches in a neighborhood once controlled by the Baglioni family.

Underground streets of Perugia

Underground Perugia

Underground Perugia

Underground Perugia

Eurochocolate, the festival that drew us to Perugia to begin with, certainly was chocolate-y.  This festival brings in up to a million people each year.  CRAZY!  The festival includes tasting, chocolate vendors, demonstrations, and chocolate sculptures.  I really wanted to see the chocolate sculptures, but much to my dismay, they aren’t being erected until tomorrow so we’re told (Sunday the 16th.)  Booo!  We did, however, eat lots of chocolate in the first hour we were there, had a sugar crash, and decided to visit some other sites around Perugia! :)

Eurochocolate brings in 1 million people in 4 days

I think hot chocolate man thought we were a little old for a photo with him…..

Shaving chocolate like a kebab and serving it in a “pita” with cream and chocolate sauce. YUM!

Eurochocolate Festival 2011 (with our chocolate purchases)

Unfortunately the brownie wasn’t as good as it looked….On to better chocolate!

So many chocolates to choose from!

“Ugly but Good”……however, if my homemade chocolates ended up looking this good, I’d be happy!

…..more chocolate

Bobby’s mother often raved about Italy’s famous Italian ceramics from a town called Deruta.  Fortunately, Deruta is right by Perugia and there were vendors selling the beautiful ceramics during Eurochocolate.  From Deruta’s website, the studio has “almost 800 years of uninterrupted history. Our ceramists have ceramics in their DNA; creating beautiful works of art is almost second-nature. The nearly twenty skilled people in our studio produce extraordinary and varied items, from large pieces for interior design such as ceramic tile panels for bathrooms and kitchen back splashes, garden tables, fireplaces and large urns, to mirrors, cabinet knobs, and unique pieces for passionate collectors.”  Here are some of the displays in Perugia and a couple of purchases Bobby and I made:

Deruta plates

Deruta bowls

Our Deruta purchases

Because we were all chocolate-d out, we visited the Cathedral of San Lorenzo.  The cathedral dates back to the 1340s and the external facade decoration (much like Cathedral in Arezzo) in white and pink marble was never completed.  Outside of the cathedral, there is a statue of Pope Julius III, a hero to Perugia for having restored the local magistrate, which had been suppressed by Paul III.  The interior nave of San Lorenzo is 68 m in length, with a nave and two aisles of the same height; the nave is twice as wide as the aisles.  Although we have seen many churches already in Italy, we are still amazed at the beauty of the detail in the ceiling and stained glass.

Fountain outside of San Lorenzo

Fountain outside of San Lorenzo

Statue of Pope Julius III

Interior of San Lorenzo

Beautiful reflection from stained glass

Stained glass

Amazing columns/ceiling



Painted stained glass

Lastly, because we knew that Perugia was a major archeological site, we quickly (we only had an hour until our train left!) went to the Museo Archeologico Nazionale.  Many of the pieces date from 3rd century BC – 2nd century AD.  Although many of the works were put behind glass cases (naturally) and didn’t lend themselves to great photo opportunities, here are a few of the highlights:

Mother and daughter tombs – 2nd – 3rd century BC

Beautiful colors

Two warriors fighting

Etruscan tomb – 3rd – 1st century BC

SHARE THIS POST:Share on FacebookPin on PinterestTweet about this on TwitterShare on Google+Share on StumbleUponEmail this to someone


  1. Beautiful sites! The chocolate does look good, but I will leave most of that for you, Bobby and Daddy!

  2. Martha Osborne says:

    Carrie & Bobbie: I am really enjoying my tour with you. You write an incrediable blog and the
    pictures are beautiful.
    Thanks for sharing

  3. I think Bobby really enjoyed this trip.
    I love the portals. I can’t believe in March I will get to see these beautiful sites. Daddy & I are so excited.

  4. Christy Massie says:

    loving all the pictures and the updates of your journey….I think you have found Heaven with all that chocolate :) I think I would be so camera happy there that I’d blow my camera up,hehe

  5. Aunt Kelli says:

    Loving your photos and tour guide info! This post brings back memories of when I lived in Perugia and studied Italian at the “Università per Stranieri” during the summer of 1985…getting college credit through the University of Oregon. Another family connection to beautiful Perugia!

    Coincidentally, we’re having our own Northwest Chocolate Festival here in Seattle this weekend. I’ll just have to close my eyes and pretend I’m in Perugia! :-)

Let us know what you think!

471 Shares Facebook 0 Twitter 0 Pin It Share 471 StumbleUpon 0 Google+ 0 471 Shares ×